Man of Mystery
“And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.” Genesis 14:17-24 (KJV)
It is with fascination that I notice that when one has his treasure in this world he falls with its kings and is captured like all the possessions. However, if the heart is on the Lord you will never fall.
Lot, backsliden, his heart drawn away by the pleasures of the world, worshipped the material, and went into captivity with the material. Abraham worshipped the God of Heaven and delivered all the people and their possessions from the captivity.
It is also interesting to notice that when Bera, the king of Sodom shows up, that Melchizedek king of Salem, and priest of the Most High God [El Elyon] comes to Abraham’s aid. Bera comes offering Abraham great material wealth as a reward for his victory. Abraham has, however, vowed to God that he would not take any reward from these perverse and rebellious people, lest they claim they have made Abraham rich (vv. 22-23).
Mechizedek’s appearance is reward enough for the “Friend of God”. Who is this Melchizedek? He is only mentioned twice in the Old Testament – here in Genesis and in Psalm 110:4; and the most mentioned of him is in the New Testament book of Hebrews. This scarcity makes him somewhat of a mystery character. Who is he? This Old Testament account calls him the king of Salem [present day Jerusalem]. He is called “the priest of the most High God [El Elyon] = “Possessor of heaven and earth”.
It seems that we are given license in Scripture of Melchizedek as a “type” of the Christ. “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” is written in a messianic Psalm (110) prophesying of the throne at the Father’s right hand, and His judgment on the nations.
There are good and godly scholars and pastors who believe Melchizedek to be a pre-incarnate visitation of Jesus Christ. The problem with that is he appears as an earthly king to Abraham – a highly honored one to be sure – yet he is the king of an earthly city. Another problem is Paul spaks of him in Hebrews 7:3 as, “…Made like unto the Son of God”. This certainly implies “type” or “Shadow” rather than substance.
In understanding who Melchizedek is we must first realize the mystery involved. Understand also, that, Scriptures were “God breathed” inspired by the Holy Spirit, and sometimes what is missing is, or can be a clue to correct interpretation. In Melchizedek’s case we have no record of his genealogy; “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life”. Yet, the Holy Spirit gives us a genealogy of our Lord’s human birth.
Let’s compare the two. Melchizedek: “Without mother or father”; no birth, nor death; A gentile priest of God; King of righteousness; King of Salem; A priest continually. Now let’s look at the One who is the substance of the shadow – Jesus Christ: without mother or father – in his deity only; no birth, nor death – also in deity only; a priest of God from the tribe of Judah (Both Melchizedek – Gentile priest of God, and Jesus – are declared by God to be priests); King of righteousness; King of Jerusalem; a priest continually – “after the power of an endless life” (Hebrews 7:16).
The comparisons are many. The one, however, is a shadow of the substance.
Abraham worships the “Most High God” by giving “tithes of all”. A tithe is one tenth. It is encouraging to notice that the tithe was initiated before the law of Moses. Not being subject to the law makes it a wonderful starting place for giving. To give less would be to insult the grace of God. Giving God ten percent of all acknowledges Him as Lord of all. We are to give willingly, cheerfully, proportionately, and promptly. Ten percent is a good starting place, but as God blesses the one’s who have a giving spirit will want to increase their giving for the glory of our Lord (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). This is proportionate giving, “…as God has prospered him”.
The true worshipper of God gives all to God, and withholds nothing.
3 thoughts on “Man of Mystery”
Tim why are you being so defensive with Mr. Kelly? If you couldn’t fix your car,who do you want to take it to? Someone who has took the time and effort to know cars or just anyone with an oppinion who agrees with you. I didn’t read that you were called a false teacher. I read truth based on bible facts not taken out of context, by a man who has went to no small effort to learn it. He’s not flaunting anything, he is giving us facts freely from what he took the effort to learn. You most deffinitly are intitled to your oppinions. So am I (and I am no PHD either) The only opinion that counts is Gods’. And his will be biblically sound and in truth. Thanks, “Dr” kelly for giving us that! And thanks Tim A for the subject matter and making it clear that we are all entitled to our own opinions. So I’ll give mine. If you are compelled to give tithes fine. Just don’t push your personal convictions off on all the rest of us as biblical facts. Unless you can defend them with biblical facts. Don’t give us that humbly agree to disagree stuff, when you are not able to humble yourself to bible truths. I wish I could give you a hug right now, because I realy do care for you, and I think a hug is what you need about now. carlt
I am always happy for those who can complete their education and get degrees. I have no respect for those who want to flaunt it, and act as though their opinions and writings hold more power than Scripture. Yours does not either.
We disagree on the matter of tithing. Leave it at that. You have your opinion, and I have mine. I do not accuse you of false teaching. Neither am I teaching falsely. A generous Christian will have no problem beginning with the tithe. They will generally give more.
You need to get over your education and get with Jesus, then maybe some humility will show through for Him, and not the PHD.
Although I agree with the author concerning Melchizedek, I seriously disagree with him concerning the purpose and nature of Abrham’s tithe. By jumping over 14:21 and what most commentaries say, he missed the fact that Abraham’s tithe was purely pagan tradition.
My PHD dissertation at a SBC-friendly school was on tithing and I expanded it into a book, Should the Church Teach Tithing? Since then David Croteau at SEBTS earned his PHD on the same subject with the same conclusions as mine that tithing is not Christian. The following is fro my essay found on my web site.
Point #2: In God’s Word the Tithe is Always Only Food!
The false teaching is that biblical tithes include ALL sources of income.
Use God’s Word to define “tithe.” Do not use a secular dictionary! Open a complete Bible concordance and you will discover that the definition used by tithe-advocates is wrong. In God’s Word “tithe” does not stand alone. Although money existed before tithing, the original source of God’s “tithe” was never money. It was the “tithe of food.” This is very important: True biblical tithes were always only food from the farms and herds of only Israelites who only lived inside God’s Holy Land, the national boundary of Israel. The increase was gathered from what God produced and not from man’s craft or ability.
There are 15 verses from 11 chapters and 8 books from Leviticus 27 to Luke 11 which describe the contents of the tithe. And the contents never (again), never included money, silver, gold or anything other than food from inside Israel! Yet the incorrect definition of “tithe” is the greatest error being preached about tithing today! (See Lev. 27:30, 32; Numb. 18:27, 28; Deut. 12:17; 14:22, 23; 26:12; 2 Chron. 31:5, 6; Neh. 10:37; 13:5; Mal. 3:10; Matt. 23:23; Luke 11: 42).
Point #3: Money Was an Essential Non-Tithed Item
The false assumption is that food barter usually replaced money.
One argument to support non-food tithing is that money was not universally available and barter from food must have been used for most transactions. This argument is not biblical. Genesis alone contains “money” in 32 texts and the word occurs 44 times before the tithe is first mentioned in Leviticus 27. The word shekel also appears often from Genesis to Deuteronomy.
In fact many centuries before Israel entered Canaan and began tithing food from God’s Holy Land money was an essential everyday item. For example money in the form of silver shekels paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+); land (Gen 23:9+); freedom (Ex 23:11); court fines (Ex 21 all; 22 all); sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+); vows (Lev 27:3-7); poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deu 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deu 22:29).
According to Genesis 47:15-17 food was used for barter only after money had been spent. Banking and usury laws exist in God’s Word in Leviticus even before tithing. Therefore the argument that money was not prevalent enough for everyday use is false. Yet the tithe contents never include money from non-food products and trades.
Point #4: Abraham’s Tithe to Melchizedek Reflected Pagan Tradition.
The false teaching is that Abraham freely gave tithes because it was God’s will.
For the following reasons, Genesis 14:20 cannot be used as an example for Christians to tithe. (1) The Bible does not say that Abraham “freely” gave this tithe. (2) Abraham’s gift was NOT a holy tithe from God’s holy land gathered by God’s holy people under God’s holy Old Covenant. (3) Abraham’s tithe was only from pagan spoils of war and was required in many nations. (4) In Numbers 31, God only required 1% of spoils of war. (5) Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek was a one-time recorded event. (6) Abraham’s tithe was not from his own personal property. (7) Abraham kept nothing for himself; he gave everything back. (8) Abraham’s tithe is not quoted anywhere in the Bible to endorse tithing. (9) Genesis 14, verse 21, is the key text. Since most commentaries explain verse 21 as an example of pagan Arab tradition, it is contradictory to explain the 90% of verse 21 as pagan, while insisting that the 10% of verse 20 was God’s will. (10) If Abraham is an example for Christians to give 10% to God, then he should also be an example for Christians to give the other 90% to Satan, or to the king of Sodom! (11) As priests themselves, neither Abraham nor Jacob had a Levitical priesthood to support; they probably left food for the poor at their altars.
Point #5: Tithing Was Not a Minimum Required from All Old Covenant Israelites
The false teaching is that everybody was to begin their giving level at ten per cent.
Only those Israelites who earned a livelihood from farming and herding inside Israel were required to tithe under the Mosaic Law. Their increase came from God’s hand. Those whose increase came from their own crafts and skills were not required to tithe products and money. The poor and needy who did not tithe and received from the tithe gave freewill offerings.